Is The 4-Hour Body a Scam? Tracking 3,500 People to Find Out

Ricardo Arias – 410 pounds to 211.6 pounds, for a loss of 198.4 pounds. But is he an anomaly? Sidenote: the black pants in the after pic (56 portly-long/60+ inch waist) fit him tightly at 410.

How many “how-to” books actually get read?

Historically, no one has known. Now, it’s possible to get an idea by looking at how many digital highlights a book has, and perhaps Amazon will someday provide data on how many people finish Kindle editions.

Taking it a step further: how many of the books actually get used?

This is tricky. Patients routinely ignore prescribed drugs, estimated to result in 125,000 deaths a year from cardiovascular disease alone, so it’s hard to imagine books are better followed. But how to know for sure?

The answer is: you have to track it.

When The 4-Hour Body (4HB) was published, it was met with sharp criticism, including:

– It’s impossible to lose more than 2 pounds of fat per week!

– It’s impossible to gain 20+ pounds of muscle in a month!

– It’s impossible to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time!

Fortunately, the “impossible” (circling the globe, breaking the 4-minute mile, reaching the moon, etc.) needs just one exception to be proven possible.

Since late 2010, new research and publications have supported many of the 4HB chapters that started with self-experiments (e.g. The New York Times and “brown fat,” cold exposure for fat loss, etc.). For all chapters, readers have outpaced my successes with their own. Here are several 100+ pound case studies.

But, the skeptics will rightly ask: Does it work for the general public, not just a handful of standouts?

This post will cover the first wide-scale distributed studies of The 4-Hour Body, which involved 3,500 people over 4 weeks. I’ll also include a few individual examples and measurements.

Here’s our rough table of contents:

– Case Study: 200 Pounds Lost

– The 4-Hour Body – Summary of Results with 3,500 People

– The Winner of The 4-Week Challenge: Female Before-and-After

– An Opportunity: Win Money By Losing Weight

Case Study: 200 Pounds Lost

Ricardo Arias has gone from 410 pounds to 211.6 pounds with 4HB, for a loss of 198.4 pounds. Based on his rate of progress, he should pass 200 pounds lost within the next 10 days or so.

Why feature this first? I wanted to highlight the personal effects of radical physical change before we get to the numbers.

As I’ve said before, I find writing books hellishly painful. Every time I ask myself “Why the #$%& did I sign up for this?”, the answer is: letters like the below.

It might seem self-congratulatory to include it (with Ricardo’s permission, of course), but it serves a purpose:

– It can inspire others to take action for the first time.

– It illustrates long-term benefits of The Slow-Carb Diet that far transcend the body.

Tim, thank you.

You’ve changed my life. Let me count the ways;

1. Almost 200 Pounds Lost. Who knows how many years you’ve added to my life. You’ve been the catalyst for this new found lifestyle. I have come to embrace the fact that without a plan (the SCD) I will end up obese again. I know that while I cannot control a lot of things in my life, I CAN control what I eat and when I eat. I now feel comfortable eating out with friends and family at restaurants knowing any restaurant can make a SCD compliment meal. Always keeping in mind that if I have to pay a little extra for that double portion of protein or extra veggies its only a part of my anti-fat tax and given the price of healthcare I am actually saving money.

2. Positive Change I’ve Inspired in Others. I have a group of friends I’ve known since elementary school (one of them since pre-school) who keep in touch almost daily. Some of them I see more often than others, so when we got together for our yearly posada (Christmas party) all of them commented on my positive change. Most if not all of them are now applying the principles of the SCD to their diets. They’re actually getting an excel sheet together to keep track of all our weight, they are now on course to join the 4HB lifestyle.

3. I Can Shop at Regular People’s Stores. Clothing wise a whole new world opened up for me. Choices are limited when you’re a 60 inch waist and 4XL. So when I walked into Zara while doing some Christmas shopping and fit into a XL jacket (yes EUROPEAN XL not XXL but XL) I couldn’t believe it. I was so proud and happy, not because of the clothes per se, but because it was a culmination of the little victories I’ve had on the path I’ve chosen. All those sacrifices and all that effort reflected back at me in the mirror in the mold of a really cool jacket. I remember a couple of Christmas’ ago my sister gave me a 56PL suit as a gift (the “P” meaning Portly as in fat around the waist). At my worst point the suit fit me tighter than a glove. Yesterday, I picked up my new suit at the tailor a black 44L suit. Another victory. Another piece of motivation to keep on going.

4. Love and Life. On a very personal level, all this energy and new mentality and approach to life has made me feel open to building meaningful relationships. Whether it’s improving the relationships I already have or making new ones, I feel I now radiate this positive energy from within that other people can notice. Through this new body — this new mentality — I find myself opening up to some great possibilities. The change in me has not only been physical. This is something I never expected, but it has been a consequence of this lifestyle.

5. New Sense of Purpose. I no longer feel like I am entitled to something. I now want to work as hard as I can to apply my new-found discipline and purpose elsewhere. I now know I am capable of achieving anything I put my mind to. And I most want to help others find their paths to a similar lifestyle — one that has been so rewarding and enriching for me.

I know I am not out of the woods yet. I actually recognize that keeping tabs on my diet will be a life-long process. I know that if I want to keep living this fuller life, I have to be conscious of the decisions I’ve made, and learn to live with the consequences. They say nothing tastes better than the way thin feels, but that’s not true. I say nothing tastes better than a life well lived. And because of you I have wet my beak and found a lifestyle I can maintain and truly get the most out of life.

Thank you, Tim.

– Ricardo Arias

P.S. I just gotta send you this pic (attached). Not only does it show how happy I am, but come on, that’s a cool jacket.

IMG-20121230-WA0020 (1)

Summary of Results from 3,500 People

For the experiment, we used Lift.

Lift is a behavioral modification app. It was incubated by Obvious Corp., whose co-founders include Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone. After seeing Lift’s potential, I became one of the first (if not first) outside investors.

For the four-week experiment, people had to:

Download Lift for free on iPhone, iPad, or iPod (Android coming).

– Search for “4HB” by clicking on the plus sign here:

– Next, sign up for whichever 4HB habits they wanted to follow. See the six below, The Slow-Carb Diet® being the most important:

So, what happened with our eventual 3,500 people? The following is excerpted from the original post by Tony Stubblebine, the CEO of Lift:

84% of people who stuck to the program lost weight and the average weight loss was 8.6 pounds. These numbers are very strong.

The diet is based on developing a few key habits: Slow-carb diet (no processed carbs or dairy), taking cold showers, eating 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up, exercising, and measuring your weight, body fat and total inches.

[Note from Tim: “Total Inches” is explained in The 4-Hour Body as follows: “Get a simple tape measure and measure four locations: both upper arms (mid-bicep), waist (horizontal at navel), hips (at widest point below waist), and both legs (mid-thigh). Total these numbers to arrive at your Total Inches (TI). Changes in this total will be meaningful enough to track.”]

The data we used comes from a large pool of Lift usage data (3,500 participants) and responses from a follow-up survey to Lift users in which 200 people participated.

Summary: 4-Hour Body Works

Not only did 84% of people who stuck to the diet for four weeks lose weight, 14% of people lost more than 15 pounds. That’s a lot of success for such a short amount of time.

Two habits correlated strongly with weight loss: eating a lot of eggs and eating veggies.

Two habits correlated with failure: heavy alcohol consumption and giving up on cold showers.

Defining Success: Lost Weight vs. Stasis

Across all our data, 16% of people didn’t lose weight. Let’s call this the baseline stasis rate. The margin of error on this survey is 5%. We can use this to claim a correlation between sub-behaviors on this diet and success.

Eat eggs and veggies.

People who reported either eating two dozen eggs per week or “too many!” eggs had a stasis rate of 10% and 11%. That correlates with greater success on the diet (i.e. the data suggests you should be aggressively eating eggs for the purposes of this diet).

We saw a much bigger signal from people who weren’t including veggies in their daily meals. Their stasis rate was 25%. Your mom was right: eat your veggies.

Be consistent.

We asked a couple of questions that touched upon how consistently people stuck to their diet habits.

28% of people scrambled to find acceptable meals each day (presumably meaning that many meals weren’t strictly appropriate for the diet).

21% of Lifters maintained their regular, social drinking habits on the diet. Tim recommends limiting alcohol and sticking to wine.

29% tried, but gave up on, cold showers.

You probably aren’t surprised that heavy drinking (25% stasis rate) didn’t help with weight loss. Haphazard eating also leaned that way (19% stasis). But what’s up with the cold showers?

Not taking cold showers and taking cold showers showed up evenly. It didn’t matter which one you chose as long as you stayed consistent.

But people who tried the cold showers and then gave up? They had a 29% stasis rate. This was the highest correlation of anything in the survey. Maybe it’s an indicator of weak wills or failure in other aspects of the diet. I’m one of them, although I managed to lose weight. I tried cold showers four times and then decided I didn’t have the heart to keep going.

Enjoy Cheat Day

I have good news: cheat day eating habits didn’t have any effect on success rate. It didn’t matter what you craved (61% of you crave sweets) or if you ate in excess (combining beer, cheese, frieds, and sugars). So keep eating whatever you’d like on your day off…

Here are more participant stories and tips from the 4-week experiment.

Some of them have kept weight off for several years since starting 4HB-based dieting, so there is evidence for persistence of effect. It is untrue that people who diet have to regain weight. It’s an old wives’ tale and totally avoidable.

The Winner of Another 4-Week Challenge: Before-and-After

Concurrently with the above tracking with Lift, I ran a 4-week competition on DietBet that became a 673-person experiment.

The premise is simple: studies have established that people work incredibly hard to avoid losing money. Much harder, in fact, than they will work to earn it. So, all you have to do is force people to put their money where their mouths are (“I want to lose weight”) and voila: better results.

On DietBet, players each add $50 to the pot, and the total is divided up among the “winners” at the end of the game. DietBetting is not winner-take-all like The Biggest Loser. Everyone who loses at least 4% of their starting weight will get an equal share of the pot. DietBet supplies referees to verify weights using a photo-based weigh-in process.

Here’s how the total pot breaks down:

– 85% of the total is divided among the winners

– 5% goes to DietBet itself for credit card fees, etc.

– 10% would have gone to me but was instead donated to The Gazzaley Lab, a cognitive neuroscience research lab at the University of California, San Francisco, where I’m helping fund studies on the neural mechanisms of memory and attention, as well as cognitive training.

DietBetting works. People, even wealthy people, keep their promises not to lose $50.

Here are some fun stats from the experiment:

• Total number of players — 673

• Total amount bet — $33,700

• Number of countries represented — 46

• Return you got for investing in yourself in the 4-Hour Body DietBet (if you won) — 58% in 4 weeks

• Return you would have gotten for investing in the S&P during the same period — negative 1.49%

• Average weight lost among everyone — 6.9 lbs

• Average weight lost among winners — 10.1 lbs

• Total weight lost cumulative — 4,673 lbs

• Percentage of players hitting 4% bodyweight loss goal (“winning”) — 53.8% (362 winners). This % win rate was significantly higher than the average across all games, which is 33%. DietBet attributes this to the simplicity of The Slow-Carb Diet (SCD).

• Amount won per player — $79.13 (85% of the total pot divided evenly among the 362 winners. 10% of the pot went to the Gazzaley Lab, 5% went to credit card and Paypal processing, etc.)

• % men/women — 56.8% men, 43.2% women

• Amount donated to the Gazzaley Lab — $3370

As an added incentive, I offered a free trip to SF and day with me to the person who had the most impressive transformation, captured by both measurements and photos.

The winner was Linda M., age 46. Here is one of her before-and-after pics:

Note: I love the strategic newspaper headline.

STATS (beginning –> end):

Weight: 197.4 –> 175.5 Lost 21.9 total pounds, but…

Lbs of fat tissue: 74.22 –> 51.33 Lost 22.89 pounds of fat

Lbs of lean tissue: 123.2 –> 124.5 Gained 1.3 pounds lean tissue, which means…

Body-fat %: 37.6 –> 29.2 Lost 8.4% body-fat

Total Inches (TI): 150.2 –> 137.4 Lost 12.8 Total Inches


Waist – 43 –> 37 = -6 inches

Bicep- 13 –> 12.4 = -0.6 inches

Hips – 44.2 –> 41.1 = -3.1 inches

Left thigh – 25.1 –> 23.5 = -1.6 inches

Right thigh – 24.9 –> 23.4 = -1.5 inches

In her feedback email, Linda wrote:

… I had skimmed 4 Hr Body in the past and incorporated some of the practices, but this was done by the book, and I am astounded! I have lost fat in the past, along with hard earned muscle, but never came close to losing this much fat AND gaining muscle. I did not think this was possible.

I am so excited to have discovered Dietbet! Money is a huge motivator for me (as I do not have a lot of it) I was so impressed with the sense of camaraderie in the forums, it didn’t feel like a competition. We felt like a team. I went on a little holiday after this challenge, gained back a few pounds and signed up right away for another challenge upon my return. It works, and I will continue to join challenges until I reach my goal weight.

I am excited to continue my progress armed with The 4-Hour Body, Dietbet and now The 4-Hour Chef.

An Opportunity

I’m holding another 4-week DietBet competition, starting today, January 22 to February 18, 2013. Sign up here. If you have an iPhone, I recommend using Lift for extra support.

For the one person who loses the most bodyfat percentage points (not necessarily total weight) by February 18th, I have another prize: a $1,000 prize of my choosing and, if you like, an hour on the phone with me (or lunch in SF, if you can make it).

How to measure bodyfat?

I’d prefer that you use the most accurate tools, such as the below. Many of the above can be found at high-end gyms or nearby hospitals. No matter what, you must use the same tool (and ideally the same person) for your “before,” progress, and “after” measurements.

The most accurate tools:

BodPod (pay per session)

DEXA or DXA (pay per session)

Hydrostatic weighing (dunk tank) (pay per session)

Skin fold calipers – MUST use at least 7 points and ideally the Jackson-Pollock algorithm (pay per session)

BodyMetrix Personal (purchase) – This is the handheld ultrasound device that is used by the New York Yankees, AC Milan, and yours truly. It plugs into your laptop via USB. I’ve arranged for a $200 discount for readers of this blog; just use this link and code 4HOURSPECIAL at checkout.

If you can’t find or afford any of these, just do your best to capture progress. For instance:

– Take good “before” pics (front, side, back) and weekly progress pictures.

– Take tape measure measurements before starting, then each week, per The 4-Hour Body instructions:

Get a simple tape measure and measure four locations: both upper arms (mid-bicep), waist (horizontal at navel), hips (at widest point below waist), and both legs (mid-thigh). Total these numbers to arrive at your Total Inches (TI). Changes in this total will be meaningful enough to track.

Regardless, eat smart (90% of fat loss), train well (10% of fat loss), and be safe, of course.

Remember: You Are Not Alone

Use all the free tools and support at your disposal.

As a starting point, consider the forum 4HBTalk, which is extremely active with advice and community. Also be sure to read my previous posts on basics, like “How to Lose 100 Pounds on The Slow-Carb Diet” (features pics and case studies).

Of course, if you want to get uber-serious, I’d suggest reading The 4-Hour Body.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up here and let’s see what you can do among supportive competitors.

I’m betting… more than you think. See you in four weeks!


The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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215 Replies to “Is The 4-Hour Body a Scam? Tracking 3,500 People to Find Out”

  1. It’s in fact very difficult in this busy life to listen news on Television, so I only use the web for that purpose, and take the hottest news.

  2. Great blog! Do you have any helpful hints for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m completely overwhelmed .. Any ideas? Bless you!

  3. Hi there this is kind of of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding knowledge so I wanted to get advice from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  4. I was a skeptic…still am in a lot of ways…read 4-hour body and wasn’t impressed…but, I thought I would give the diet a go.

    I didn’t follow the diet exactly. I cannot eat within an hour of waking up. I would rather be fat than spend 15 minutes in the bathroom being sick every morning. I ate when I felt hungry, usually a couple of hours after waking.

    Every morning I have a cup of coffee with sweetened creamer. I eat ketchup, and I sprinkle cheese (about an ounce) on my eggs every morning.

    My goal was to keep my carbs to less than 100 per day…this I found I could do quite easily, and not feel hungry at all. The benefit of eating low carb yet high protein is that I simply cannot eat 2000 calories of protein in a day…that is far too much food. No sense in eating if you’re not hungry.

    The cravings for sweet stuff went away after about 3 days. By cheat day, I was hungry for my usual low-carb breakfast, but ate chips and chocolate instead, absolutely convinced that I had completely screwed up the diet and would burn in obesity hell for it.

    The result? I lost 40lbs in 5 months…without even trying.

    The weird part is this; my co-workers saw me eating scrambled eggs covered in tomatoes, bacon, a little cheese and avocados every morning and drooled over my breakfast…they saw me eating a 4oz Ribeye with broccoli for lunch…they saw me lose 40 lbs and go down 3 dress sizes…and they asked me what I was doing…I told them and yet they still don’t believe that this diet could work!

    I see them eating their bowls of fruit or their oatmeal for breakfast…refraining from chips, candy, bacon and other great foods for the duration of their diets, and failing miserably, losing a couple of pounds and then blowing their diets and giving up after a week or two.

    I have asked them,”which is harder; not having the food you want until you have lost 20lbs, or not having the food you want until Saturday?”.

    Still they don’t believe. I continue to lose weight (lost 5lbs in the last week), and continue to eat like a ravenous teenager with PMS every Saturday.

    I still don’t know if I could lose 20lbs of body fat in a month, but that’s okay…I have lost 40 lbs total in 5 months, and that’s good enough for me.

    1. I also have to mention; I drink diet soda everyday. I am absolutely addicted to it. I refuse to take cold showers…no way, no how.

      But that is what is great about this diet; you can tailor it to fit YOUR lifestyle.

      If you blow it, you just pick right back up from where you left off. Unlike other low carb diets , you don’t have to re-start from point A.

  5. I thought this might interest Tim if he finds it. Im reading/experimenting with the four hour body. The section on the response to cold. I was very surprised this was not factored in to the calories in/out equation.

    On two occasions I have eaten a ludicrous amount of straight honey. Once in the mountains when I was literally starving, I ate 400g of honey from a jar. Better to starve. Then in 2012 I was working in the bush in Ethiopia (Im a geologist), and the boys bought in a whole beehive worth of honey comb. About 25kg. As the senior man and foreigner/guest everyone had to gift me a selected “choice piece”. I lost count of the number of fist sized pieces I ate. At least a Kg of straight honey. Not only did I feel like I was going to die, I was extremely hot. Even though I was immobile and the temperature was dropping my ‘felt heat’ went up 20 celsius. We were all sweating like mad. My Ethiopian friend said “I do not like, makes hot”. This would imply that not only do you chew through calories at lower temperatures (fairly obvious) but that the body is capable of a spontaneous exothermic reaction to dispose of a severe energy influx.

    How could you trigger that reaction without the horror of honey poisoning?

  6. I am a 46 year old women who has been yo-yo dieting most of her life. Diagnosed with an underactive thyroid 6 years ago it has been even harder to shed the weight. Tim your 4-hour body programme and the success of Briana and others has given me the inspiration to start. I am going to track my progress week by week, here goes to a new start to a new way of life!!

  7. I am highly impressed the way these people shed the weight but I want to gain the weight so is there any way for a lazy and bit sluggish man to get the weight

  8. Hi Tim,

    I am the regular reader of your writings and insights.

    There is tons of material how to lose weight and you surely have added in this .

    But what about those guys who wants to gain weight? not so much has been in around.

    I will appreciate if you refer some good stuff

    1. Set a target, exercise to gain muscle mass. If you do not exercise regularly, begin now. It will also be advisable to consult your doctor to find out if it is safe for you to exercise, if you have never exercised before. The best way to exercise is to join a gym and follow the routine prescribed by the expert religiously. Actually, you should not worry about the weight, whatever it may be, go my the measurement. Keep a track of the BMI and BMR.

  9. The book was suggested to me by a friend recently. Being a fitness freak, I bought and read it immediately. I found that I follow most of Mr Tim Ferriss’ prescriptions, such as cold baths, eating legumes, lentils and green vegetables. I have exercised all my life, since I was 11 years old. I am 63 now. I rarely use dairy products. My BMI is around 23.4. As for sleep, Since the past few years, I have formed the habit of napping for about twenty minutes in the afternoon. I do not have to sleep for more than five hours at night. Probably, if I took six naps, I could make do with two hours of sleep at night.

    However, I have not dared to cut my weekly nine hours of gym schedule to four, because I am afraid of losing the benefits that I have derived, BP of 110/70, heart beat of 49 at rest. The best of all, despite the terribly polluted atmosphere in which I live, I do not fall ill, even for a single day in several years at a stretch. In fact, I do not catch even a cold. I easily drive 250 miles over rough Indian roads in a day without fatigue.

    I would swear by Mr. Ferriss’ regimen to anyone who desires to enjoy living.

  10. Looking to take part in the official forum but it seems its no longer available. It says locked both from my phone and my laptop. Does any one know of a active 4hb forum?

  11. A 26yo guy here. When I first tried the 4 hour body plan I lost 8 lbs in 5 days. That’s right, not even a week. The only concern for me at the time was that I felt weak and thought I’m losing lean muscle too. In the mean time I gained a few pounds back and I’m gonna start the program again for sure. It’s easy to follow and I know it gave results.

  12. Hi, How much of each food do I eat at each meal. In other words, If I’m eating chicken, black beans and spinach for dinner, how many ounces of chicken do I eat? Do I eat 1/4, 1/2 or 1 cup of black beans? Thank you Ronni

  13. Great stuff again Tim! I’m inspired over and over again by your cool topics and personal drive to go to the limit. Question: how is your knowledge or experience with the use of Ormus, the so called “White powder Gold” or physically distinct atomic mineral substances. As I noticed you are experimenting with a lot of health products this also might be worth a “test”. I would love to send u some samples from our lab. Would be GREAT to see if you get good results too! And just between you and also makes your hair grow again! hahaha… Keep up the good stuff my friend!

  14. I am only 2 weeks into the program. And I have not lost any weight so far. I was down about 2-3 lbs but the cheat day jumped me back up and even a bit above my weight when i started. I am 219lbs today. I think i would be happy at 200lbs. So i’m not really one of the seriously overweight people that seem to be used as examples a lot. I am starting to wonder if all these great results are because of people that need to lose 60-100 lbs. Which I think is not that difficult to do when you are that far overweight. I haven’t given up yet but feel very skeptical of how effective this program is for people slightly overweight as opposed to obese.

  15. Started last week down 5.5 pounds starting from 414. Thanx for the book. And that first example wow. I’ll be your next 200 case study good sir

  16. Just finished the book. Few questions if anyone can answer. Is almond milk ok to mix my protein shakes? Is cottage cheese ok? Is greek yogurt ok? Thanks.

  17. I started the 4HB as New Years Resolution 2012 after trying lots of different ways to lose weight. After the first four weeks and seeing great results I decided to try reintroducing wholegrains for breakfast – I needed this to be a sustainable part of my life after all. My weight loss continued so I decided it wasn’t to detrimental. I had also taken this one with the minimal exercise option, again I wanted to ensure it would be sustainable when I was too busy or my routine was distrupted and I couldn’t exercise. In the first twelve months I lost 14 kilos. I have lost another 3 kilos and and I am now maintaining this having reached my goal weight I now exercise to tine the body I’ve achieved.

  18. I’ve used varying versions of the slow carb diet over the years to achieve very low bodyfat percentages . After reading the 4 hour body I decided to drink the kool aid (figuratively) actually drinking kool aid would lead to the utterly feared glucose spikes we are aiming to avoid. I am your typical gym rat 6 days a week possible 12-14 hours total gym time. I decided to use ocams protocol and am currently in week 3. I am always sceptical of minimal effort for maximum gain propaganda, I am here to say that this stuff works! I have gained 5 lbs of lean mass 168-173. More defined abs via cat vomits. Probably have had atleast 10 people from the gym ask me what the hell I’m doing wretching my torso up and down until my face is red. My answer is always the same….cat vomits!

    My only question or complaints is about the re feeds. Who the hell is going to complain this is the best part right? I have noticed a significant composition change (negatively) in the days preceding sometimes gainung as much as 4 lbs and feeling puffy. Is it absokutely necessary to do this? can you achieve superior results by skipping the chocolate croissants and pizza and just plowing through the week with clean slow carb diet. Dont get me wrong I enjoy putting down 4 Blue Star donuts on saturday (portland OR best donut, not voodoo donuts contrary to tourist lines and hype) but is there a better way to restore glycogen and leptin and minimize the fall out from the food coma?

    Side note: I have been experimenting with a cold shower/swimming routine that’s been killer.

    Process= 10 minute freezing cold shower followed by 500 meter swim repeat x3. Swim using total immersion of course

  19. I have also read Dr Doug McGuff’s book, Body by Science mentioned in 4HB. Great stuff. Question……during HIT can you do any cardio or sprint traiming? Does it inhibit recovery from lifting?

  20. I’ve had pretty good success with the SCD for the first month, and now I have started the PAGG and Super Cissus. I love the information in the book! I’m trying my best to piece together the various steps of the diet and supplements and other tools, but I’m confident that I will eventually achieve the right balance! (I’m still working my way up to the cold showers in the morning…)

    I wonder if anyone else has experienced this? Has anyone found a site where the steps outlined in the book in different chapters have been formatted in a user-friendly way to make it a little more straightforward?

    1. Yeah I like his book a lot. But it’s kinda everywhere. He gives us like a dozen workouts for different things but then says it so simple and would only take 4 hours per week. I’ve gathered that were not meant to do them all each week. But where do we start? Is there an order that is best?

  21. I’ve read most of the 4 Hour Body. But I have questions so anyones help is appreciated. So in the book, chapter freak to geek, Tim gains 20 pounds of muscle from a workout. However the work out seems unspecific. Focus on 2-10 exercises he says. Then he lists 8 exercises. Pullover + Yate’s Bent row, Leg press, Pec-deck +weighted dips, leg curl, reverse thickbar curl, seated calf raises, manual neck resistance (which is odd), and machine crunches. So how many reps and sets???? 2 sets of 8 reps and 1 set of reps to failure is my guess. That’s what I’m trying. What are others doing? Also in this case there is no Workout A & B? Could you break into 4 each. Also does he really believe 2 exercises only would have similar results to 8 or 10 exercises? Why is two good? Secondly he talks about Neil Strauss workout with just 2 exercises per workout. With 2 workouts per week each with 2 different exercises. So 4 exercises per week are enough to workout the whole body? I feel like he’s leaving out information?


  22. My SO and I have been eating this way for just over 3 years. We lost over 70 lbs (50 was me, he was looking at this as a way to tone up and gain some muscle, which has happened). In my early 30’s I’m easily in the best shape of my life. I do a 20 min workout 3 times a week consisting of the core work mentioned in the book along with kettle bells. I have worked up to swinging a 53 lbs kettle bell 150 times. Overall very happy with how I look and feel. For anyone getting discouraged intitally, it was probably a good 3-4 weeks before I saw much in the way of results, but then I lost 30 lbs in 4 months, the last 20 took longer.

  23. I’ve come to the unfortunate conclusion that morons make up a very large portion of the human population. I’ve been overweight my entire life, hadn’t ever lost a lick of weight, I only gained weight. Then some time last year I picked up the Slow Carb diet really strictly for about 3 weeks. I started at 255lbs. I got down to 230. 25lbs in 3 weeks. No exercise. I would be down even further if I didn’t have the discipline of an alcoholic in a wine cellar but the point is, it WORKS. But still everybody and their mothers will swear up and down you need heaps of wheat or come up with some shite study that points to increased sugar consumption being the key to a “hot, summer body”. Idiots. It could all be so simple. No need for 42 types of proteins, enzymes, extraportory vitamins, lambic caloric Interpol or whatevers the next goofy thing society and the media decides to cook up next. If you are trying to lose weight, eat nothing but grilled chicken, black beans and corn or salad with water for an entire week. I guarantee you all your weight problems will vanish. When I’m going strong my digital scale shows me I lose a pound a day. It doesn’t get any simpler.

  24. Is there any vegan hacks of this? i’m in my first week and its mainly lentils, spinach, cauliflower and hemp/pea/cranberry protein drinks. I am so freakin bloated and its miserable… Any suggestions? Or did you go through the process?

  25. OK, I have a question. From June 2014 to July 2015, I followed the dietary recommendations from 4-Hour Body and I was strict. I kept a daily log of everything, with daily weigh-ins (average of three weights) and weekly measurements (tape measure and I bought a BodyMatrix. Yes. I. Did.). At 5′-4″, I began at 70.66 kg, and during that period, I dropped very regularly and consistently to 52.4 kg, with a total loss of some 36″ and went from about 29% body fat to about 16%. My husband started lecturing me to stop losing weight, and I laughed, saying I was sure my body would “know” when to stop because I wasn’t going to eat less (fewer daily calories), or add significantly more activity. I was thrilled. I decided to stop measuring myself weekly, as a gesture to show I was not overly-involved with this and had achieved my goal. I was fairly sure it would be an unshakable result, since I had no difficulties with the dietary changes I had made, and intended to continue.

    Then, I mysterious thing began to occur. Changing nothing (eating habits and activity), my weight began to creep back up at about the same rate as I had previously lost it. I am now at 55.53 kg (3.5 months after my low). For a couple months, my husband (ob/gyn) told me it had to be water. I kept the faith, while worrying. I intend to keep the faith, as a manner of speaking (this is not a religion for me), but I am wondering what phenomenon is at work here. I would like to think I am putting on muscle, but if my activity has not really changed, why would that be? Besides, while I am still in the size 36 (US 4, I was a 42!) jeans, I am quite certain I am not as lean (I am starting the measurements again this week, and it’s going to be really difficult to see the results).

    I have always been active, relatively fit, and quite muscular (defined). My principal activity now is horseback riding, with some skiing, very strenous gardening. I deliberately did not “go to the gym” to lose the weight because years of training (The Mills, spinning, running, rowing, weights), with a personal trainer, too, only saw my body fat percentage increase year-to-year. He was beyond perplexed. My major dietary change was the elimination of simple sugars, from fruit (except lemons), sweets, and bread, pasta, and rice. I substituted lentils, eat +14 eggs a week, protein from fish and meat at every meal, and I eat a great deal of vegetables. I drink 2 glasses of red wine with dinner, and have since the beginning of the program. Any ideas about what is going on? I have looked around your site, by the way.

  26. Hey Tim, read the 4hr body, however, I am having a hard time figuring out how to adapt the slow carb diet if I want to gain lean body mass, not so much lose weight (Im assuming the lean mass gain would also result in fat loss). I started the slow carb diet this week but it feels like something is missing. I train crossfit and always do a post workout drink with protein/carbs.

  27. Hi all,

    doing the scd for 2-3 months now. havent lost a pound. did trim however, but that occured on the first month. I didnt test body fat at the start. am I stuck? should I continue? a friend suggested that my fat is converted to fat around the inner organs, is he right?


  28. Just read 4hb and think it rocks. I have a question about the meals though. Is it a requirement that you have one of each three categories or can you choose just 1 or 2? For example, Tim mentions his dad substituted a protein shake, was he then forced to eat a bowl of legumes and broccoli? Or Mom ate cottage cheese, same question. The book reads that it’s a requirement to have one of each for all four daily meals, but I’m finding it challenging and not needed (not hungry enough to cram more lentils down).

  29. My husband and I began listening to Audibles latest release of 4HWW about 2 months ago and found it inspiring. Naturally, we came across and began listening to 4HB about 2 weeks ago. Between the two of us, we both finally hit our “Harajuku Moment” and found a reasonable diet that could work for us both.

    A bit of back story….

    Almost exactly 11.5 years ago, I underwent Proximal RNY to force a spinal condition into “remission”. I was likely born with it and it impacted my hormones and eventually caused blindness in the center of one eye. The surgery was a huge success and I got pregnant with our son! Half way into the pregnancy, I was T-boned by a semi. A little less than a year after having our son, i had to have neck fusions and lower back fusions. Until my 2nd neck surgery a year ago, I’ve struggled in a number of ways. My loving, supportive hubby has stood by and helped me through it all, taking its own toll on him. Our son is now 9.5 and we have our hearts set on giving him a sibling. We are both now on the diet and extremely excited!


    Have you had others use this diet that have had bariatric surgery? Are you interested in tracking my data? Please reach out to me via email if so. We live in the East Bay….so we are not far.

  30. Hi, I just started the Slow-Carb Diet, and I was wondering whether anyone had tips for being consistent with measuring Total Inches. I find that my measurements can vary wildly if the tape measure is just a little askew or if I measure a slightly different part of whatever area I’m measuring. Sometimes I can get as big a difference as 1 inch in just a single measurement (for example L bicep or L thigh). Thanks!

  31. I agree that there’s a lot to the 4HB and am thankful to TF for the guidelines. My fear now is that I’m stuck on it forever just to hold steady at this weight. Am 5’3 – 125 lbs, 26% BF, 28% Muscle – 53 yr old female. If I stray off any of the foods for even just a few days (like vacations, or even a few days of eating regular meals that include pasta or fries or dessert), I bounce up in weight rapidly and have to go another three/four weeks to recover. Metabolism is truly botched because I used the HCg diet first to get from 150 to 125. I’ve been on the 4HD to maintain. If I chase the 115 lb threshold I want, it could sentence me to even worse quasi starvation than I have now. Is there life after the 4HD? Or is it the new normal?

  32. Definitely not a scam. I won two weight loss contests using it. One contest lasted a month. The contest was over a 2 month period. Granted that was a year ago at least. The wonderful thing that resulted was having the confidence to know I can lose weight whenever I want. At will. I have total control if I choose to use it. It is completely painless. Needless to say, my weight is not the boss of me. It has become a non-issue. Thanks for your great work, Tim. Looking forward to the next book.

  33. I love the 4-Hour Body and I do not doubt the Slow Carb Diet has a high level of efficiency but I have a problem with the incessant diet-arguing it generates. The Slow Carb Diet is a fantastic 4 week fat loss diet, a good 4 month weight maintenance diet but what about the 40 year diet? You can look at scientific data, rationalize the shit out of everything, the fact is that science mainly studies illness or the lack thereof. Can we start studying health? Mental health, emotional health and physical health. A cancer can be prevented by a diet, weight loss can be generated by a diet but health cannot be achieved by a diet. Weight loss can be measured, cancer cells can be mesured but you can’t measure health. Health is an overall vitality, it’s a feeling created by a balanced biochemical response in the body. The discussions about diets will keep on going. What I want is a discussion about long term health, an interview with someone who is healthy after practicing their diet for 40 years. We need a collective shift of consciousness from illness to health but we write and sell great books on diets because this is what people want to buy and talk about.

  34. Down almost 70lbs and feel awesome! I do a mix of slow carb and keto dieting, with sporadic cheat days. LOVE the short but intense workouts doing a 5/5 cadence. Game changer.

  35. i never knew about or read the book. But after i lost a lot of weight i heard about it and when i read it i found that out of pure coincidence, i had applied some of its principles and it paid rich dividends. I lost 32 kg’s in 6 months. So i can say that it works.

  36. Thank you for your inspiring book The 4-Hour Body (whitch I have read in Finnish “4 tunnin keho”)!

    I started the low carb diet just today and I have two questions:

    – Fruit are banned, but what about avocado? Is that an exeption?

    – Would berries ruin the diet? I’ve learned that blueberries and lingonberries are very healthy and I usually eat them daily. Do I have to skip them?

    Thank you and best wishes from Finland (yes, it’s in Europe, between Sweden and Russia)!

  37. This is actually not true: “It is untrue that people who diet have to regain weight. It’s an old wives’ tale and totally avoidable.”

    Here’s some research that suggests gaining weight changes the way your brain and body subsequently process food. And your brain and body don’t change back simply by losing the weight:

    “A recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health tracked the weight of more than 270,000 adult men and women between 2004 and 2014. Researchers found that only 0.5 per cent of obese men and 0.8 per cent of obese women were able to attain and maintain a normal body weight. They concluded that once an individual becomes obese, it is very difficult to return to a healthy body weight. Indeed, persistent dieters stuck in a pattern of weight cycling, or ‘yo-yo dieting’, might be altering their hormones and altering their sense of hunger, some research suggests.”

  38. Love this. I have lost 33lbs in just over 4 months, and for me, the best thing is that I don’t feel like I am missing out. I do probably take my ‘cheat’ day to excess a bit, but it does’nt seem to be having a negative impact. I think the black & white nature of the diet is one of the success factors

  39. Hi, we compared the slow carb diet with the traditional low fat diet amongst our diabetic patients in a recent study. The slow carb group, lost more weight and their diabetes control was better. Here is the link to the published article:

    Implementation and evaluation of a weight-reduction programme for diabetic patients at a primary health care facility in the Western Cape: a pilot study.


    Abdul Isaacs

    1. Thanks for the reference paper! Was it modeled after the slow-carb diet, or was it more generically a low-carb diet modeled on others? What did sample meals look like?

  40. My wife is a weight watcher (couldn’t convert her as she has success there) but I can’t help noticing how close their new points system is to the slow carb diet – zero points for some lean proteins, vegetables and legumes plus a weekly extra balance and daily rollover you can use to have a cheat day. Just thought you’d like to know (if you don’t already).

    Loving Tribe of Mentors!

    All Tims are good!

  41. 1. In the book “Four hour body – it states red wine is okay but does not specifically discuss whisky or scotch (neither contain sugar but do have some calories). Thoughts about consuming this during the week?

    2. Anyone experience breaking of the “cheat day” into two 1/2 cheat days? Can you achieve similar results but say doing moderate cheat days Tues / Sat

    to allow for flexibility?

    Thanks, Matt

  42. What do I do wrong? 🙁 I follow all the rules – I eat within 30min of waking, 30g of protein for breakfast, same meals, 3 to 4 meals per day, 20g of protein per each meal and in each meal I eat veggies+meat+beans or lentil. I also do exercises Tim prescribed in his book (3 times a week 3 exercises). It’s been 6 days and nothing changed. No lost centimetres or kg.

    Do I do something wrong or it’s just not working on me?

  43. I am a pediatrician caring for obese children and wish to use the methods you describe in 4HB to create a system for EFFECTIVE weight and lifestyle management, rather than the ridiculous standards by the American Board of Pediatrics and even NFL Play 60 movements. Please contact me if you are interested in participating.

  44. Worked very well for me. I lost 35lbs and never felt as if I was being denied. This is not so much a diet as it is a way of life. Slip off the plan and watch the weight inexplicably return. On the 4 Hour Body Diet I did 0 cardio…only moderate weight training with high reps and lower weights.